“We have to raise safety standards,” Aigner, who is also consumer protection minister, said at a press conference in Berlin to present her ministry’s action plan. “If dioxin is found in feed or food then preventative consumer protection takes absolute priority.”
She said the discovery of toxic fatty acids in feed for pigs, egg-laying hens and other poultry required an overhaul of how food for animals at the nation’s farms was produced and distributed.
“There will be clear definitions of what can go into feed. And what goes in has to be tested,” she told daily Passauer Neue Presse ahead of her press conference.
Aigner, who has already said she plans to tighten regulation of the animal feed industry, demanded new standards. She also reportedly wants the entire European Union to ban the production of fatty acids for animal feed at sites that also make inedible fats for industrial use.
The latest scandal was caused when a German firm supplied some 3,000 tonnes of fatty acids contaminated with cancer-causing dioxins to several animal feed makers.
Thousands of farms have been temporarily closed, and traces of dioxin have been found in eggs, poultry and pork. Several countries have since banned the import of German products.
Aigner, who has been accused of being slow to respond to the scandal, now also wants to see the EU come up with a list of ingredients allowed in animal feed. This would be accompanied by tougher criminal penalties in cases of noncompliance.
“I can understand that consumers are worried,” she said in Berlin, adding that there was no longer an acute health risk. “One thing is clear: There have to be consequences.”